A debate on Restoration and Renewal has been scheduled for Thursday 16 July 2020. This briefing paper provides an update on developments since the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in October 2019.
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The Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in October 2019.
The Act creates the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, which will have responsibility for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster. The Sponsor Body, which had operated in shadow form from July 2018, was established substantively on 8 April 2020, six months after Royal Assent.
The Sponsor Body will propose an Outline Business Case (OBC) for Restoration and Renewal, to be voted on and agreed by both Houses of Parliament, before the building works can begin.
Under the Act, the Sponsor Body is required to form a company limited by guarantee to formulate proposals relating to Palace restoration works and to carry out the Parliamentary building works in line with the requirements of the Sponsor Body. It will “procure and manage the contractors and supply chain”.
The Board of the Sponsor Body agreed to incorporate the Delivery Authority at its inaugural meeting on 8 April 2020.
On 24 April 2020, the National Audit Office (NAO) published Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme, a review of the Restoration and Renewal Programme. The review was based on work carried out between January and March 2020 (whilst the Sponsor Body was still in shadow form).
The NAO expected “an outline business case planned to be ready in autumn 2021, and approval from Parliament expected to follow in 2022” but it noted that “Future dates may change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing at the time of this report”.
On 19 May 2020, the Sponsor Body announced that it would “review options for how the restoration programme should be carried out, including new ways of working developed in response to the health crisis caused by Covid-19”.
On 25 June 2020, in response to an oral question on when the Sponsor Body planned to commence the decant, in advance of the restoration and renewal works, Damian Hinds, the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body spokesperson, told the House that the decant is still expected to begin in the mid-2020s.